There is no arguing that Xander Schauffele doesn't look quite as crisp as we became accustomed to seeing in 2019, but when did four straight top-24 finishes and a second-place showing at the Tournament of Champions become less than ideal? A venue such as TPC Sawgrass requires golfers to provide a complete game to find success, and you aren't going to find many who are more sound with what they render from an ability standpoint. Schauffele's $9,400 price tag on DraftKings looks very fair to us, and he has a chance to find success this weekend.
It has been a slow start to 2020 for Brooks Koepka, who was forced to have surgery on his left knee after playing through the injury for most of 2019. Koepka did show some signs of life at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, carding the third-best round of the day on Sunday, but a volatile 81 on Saturday will receive the majority of the headlines. The American flew out to Las Vegas after the API on Sunday to meet with Butch Harman - coach to many top players before entering retirement last year. Koepka said during his pre-tournament news conference on Wednesday that "It's one of those things where I just needed a different set of eyes, maybe something might click because I was failing." It remains to be seen if it will make a difference, but it is worrisome news for the four-time major winner.
If we are looking for positives from Jordan Spieth, he has made it to the weekend in 13 of his past 14 events on tour -- granted a few of those we are counting did come at no-cut events. The issue for Spieth is that his game remains a mess from a statistical standpoint. It doesn't help matters that the American has only made one cut at TPC Sawgrass since 2015 and has been on record complaining about the tournament moving from May to March. Spieth is capable of finding his rhythm at some point, but we aren't placing the odds of that happening this weekend very highly.
Abraham Ancer will tee it up at The Players for the second time in his career after finishing 12th last year in his debut. Ancer is a player that is certainly trending in the right direction; he has top-15s in three of his last five starts, has made the cut in each of those events and now ranks 19th on the PGA Tour in scoring average. His low price throughout the DFS industry will likely elevate his ownership to 15% in tournaments, but regardless, he makes for an excellent play. His recent play and previous scores at the Players Stadium Course are enough to consider him a serious threat to move up the leaderboard this week. Ancer is also an excellent cash-game option.
Justin Thomas will be back in action this week for the first time since his meltdown during the final round at the WGC-Mexico Championship. You never want to place too much of an emphasis on any one round, but his final round 73 was at least three strokes worse than anyone else that finished the event inside the top-10. The American's game would appear to be an ideal fit for what will be demanded at TPC Sawgrass, but it would have been reassuring if we could have seen him tee it up during one of the tune-up events in Florida. None of those concerns are meant to be reasons to take the 26-year-old off your board, but they are worth diving a little deeper into.
Brandt Snedeker enters the field this week at The Players with hopes of improving on his impressive fifth-place finish last year at the Players Stadium Course. Though he isn't an elite player, Snedeker has proven, even of late, that he can make a run at some big tournaments. The 39-year-old can go out and compete against any field, specifically at a shorter track like the Players Stadium Course. Snedeker will likely garner some ownership due to his low price and recent results, but he remains an excellent tournament and cash-game option.
After a relatively successful January, Cameron Champ has seen some regression in his game, and as a result he has missed two cuts in a row. This will be Champ's second appearance after missing the cut last year at The Players. Though Champ has shown some big upside, there is just not enough evidence right now to prove he can make a run against one of the most elite fields in all of golf. Champ is extremely well-priced throughout the DFS industry given his recent form, and he can be considered as a risky tournament option with some upside. Avoid Champ in cash formats.
Adam Hadwin enters The Players as an extremely underestimated golfer. The Canadian has proven he can play some terrific golf and move himself up leaderboards, yet he remains one of the lower-priced and owned golfers this week. This will be Hadwin's sixth appearance at The Players. He has three made cuts, which is nothing incredibly impressive, but his ability to get hot any given week makes him an interesting DFS tournament option. Avoid Hadwin in cash formats but feel free to use him as a low-upside sleeper pick for fantasy tournaments.
Patrick Reed will look to continue his outstanding play this week at The Players. In the 2020 calendar year, Reed has a win, a runner-up, a sixth-place finish and a 15th-place finish in six outings. He missed the cut in just one of those six tournaments. Reed has made the cut each of the last three years at The Players but has yet to find a way to move up a leaderboard. Reed's fairly high ownership projection at 20% is reasonable considering he has all the ability to win a golf tournament, but he also provides a nice price discount from the top-tier golfers. Reed can be used in cash and tournament-game formats.
It is impossible to argue against the fact that Dustin Johnson is in the midst of one of his worst statistical seasons since turning pro in 2008, but it isn't all doom and gloom for the fifth-ranked player in the world. The American has gained strokes off the tee in his previous six events, around the green in his last two and has shown improvement with his irons as of late. For whatever reason, Johnson's ability to hit shots from inside 125 yards has become suspect, but he should be able to avoid that distance at TPC Sawgrass. Consider the 35-year-old to be an excellent bounce-back candidate at a venue he finished tied for fifth place last season.
What else is there to say about Rory McIlroy? The Irishman has not finished worse than a share of fifth place in any of his last seven worldwide starts, but there has still been some disappointment felt by those that have rostered him during his magnificent run. McIlroy will look to keep the momentum rolling at this week's Players Championship - an event he will enter as the defending champion. There are a lot of possible routes that can be taken this week when it comes to roster construction and beginning with McIlroy is undoubtedly one of them.
Rafael Cabrera Bello will tee it up at The Players this week in hopes of shaking off his 74-82 missed-cut performance last week at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. Rafa has had some success at The Players; he missed the cut last year but finished 17th in 2018 and fourth in 2019. Rafa's fair price across the DFS industry and his streak of average golf will keep his ownership way down in tournaments this week. Due to his inconsistent and poor recent play, he should be seen as a high-risk tournament option with some upside.
Tyrrell Hatton, coming off of his win at the Arnold Palmer Invitational last week, will tee it up this week at the Players Stadium Course. His win last week added on to his sixth-place finish at the World Golf Championship just a few weeks ago. This will be Hatton's fourth appearance at The Players, but he has yet to find much success. Hatton missed the cuts in 2019 and 2018. He finished 41st in 2017. Due to his win last week and relatively low price across the DFS industry, his ownership will likely be at around 20 percent in tournaments, which is on the high side for PGA. Hatton makes for an excellent cash option, but considering his relatively high ownership and poor history at The Players, a tournament fade may be an interesting idea.
Louis Oosthuizen comes to TPC Sawgrass relatively fresh as he’s only participated in The Honda Classic and WGC Mexico tournaments recently. He missed the cut at The Honda Classic and turned in a T51 at WGC Mexico. Oosthuizen was the runner-up in 2017 with a score of seven under at The Players Championship so he certainly can turn it on here. In 2017, the conditions were less than optimal so if the weather this weekend becomes windy or rain is in the forecast, Oosthuizen could be a nice pivot play.
Bubba Watson returns to TPC Sawgrass, which is a course he’s been rather pedestrian at in recent years. From 2015-2019, Watson has finished T42, T43, missed the cut, T57, and T56 respectively. This season though, Watson has turned in some nice performances at The Waste Management Phoenix Open and the Farmers Insurance Open, finishing T3 and T6. He’s gaining .706 strokes off the tee, seventh in this field, which will allow for opportunities for manageable approach shots. At $7,300 on DraftKings, there are some more intriguing options in this price range.